My experience at Leadership Tampa’s Education Day

Jimmy St. Louis

Chief Executive Officer, Advanced Healthcare Partner

Leadership Tampa Class of 2013

Tampa, as we all have known, or are learning in our great program, is full of not just great people, but great opportunity. During Education Day, our team had the opportunity to learn more about the incredible educational platform that our great city provides in its success of harvesting our country’s future leaders.

First off, the class was well organized by our awesome chairs for the day, Dr. Rebecca White and Rob Wolf. They set up an informative and fun day for our class.

Our first stop was Blake High School. I must say that my original interpretation of Blake High School was that it was just another large high school near downtown Tampa. I quickly found out that we were visiting much more than that. Howard W. Blake Performing Arts High School is one of the nation’s leaders for high school students focused on the performing arts. In addition to a great informational session by Assistant Principal Greg Basham, we also were able to witness two performances by two very gifted students. AWESOME. Following the performances, all of us were able to put our skills to the test in a number of different area’s such as dance, musical instrumentation, ceramics, etc. Fortunately, given my limited musical skills, I was designated to the ceramics classes where we all made some cool take homes for our families. Great Job Blake High. Some very exciting things are happening there.

Our next stop was Academy Prep, where we were provided with a wealth of information about the amazing things that they are doing for our community and future leaders. Each of us were able to ask a number of questions related to how to be accepted into the program, and to the success of the students during and after their time in the school. Lincoln Tamayo, Headmaster and Ryan Gonzalez, Director of Development, spoke with passion about the great things that they are doing. Following that, we broke off into 8 groups and were led by the students in a variety of areas. Some of our take aways from our experience are that each student truly does want to be in school at Academy Prep. They take pride in what they do, they participate, and they build an incredible educational platform to help spring themselves to success. I am personally very proud to have such a great program right here in our back yard.

Following Academy Prep, our next stop was Hillsborough Community College. This is an organization that should be promoted even more to the Tampa area. They are producing not only our area’s most skilled technicians but are also offering some of the best training technology in the region. Each of us had the luxury of touring their various departments such as collision repair, welding, and law enforcement training. Law enforcement training had to have been the highlight for most. The Bluetooth training program for gun use and police scenario training was incredible. Rumor has it that Mark and Renee have agreed to buy all of us one as a LT graduation gift. Thanks guys!

After HCC we made our last stop at the University of Tampa. UT is an unparalleled institution, and although we only had the opportunity to see a small part of it, some of what we heard was impressive in itself. We were greeted by Dr. Rebecca White who introduced then our first speaker, Stephanie Thomason who spoke to us about experimental education in higher education today. It’s nice to see groups that are cultivating creative thinking and entrepreneurialism. Nice talk. In addition, part of the exercise was for us to evaluate three different entrepreneurial concepts in a “shark tank” manner. We had some bright students in front of us with some very promising futures. My money went to the application that may end up changing the world. Following that we heard from representatives from USF St. Pete, UT, Eckerd, and HCC and learned more about their programs.

All in all, it was a great day, and an informative opportunity for all of us.

I hope all of you had a Happy Halloween!


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About Tampa Bay Chamber

The Tampa Bay Chamber is a not-for-profit business membership organization that helps promote the businesses and business interests of our members. We come from diverse backgrounds: from small businesses, big corporations, government bodies and the military. United, we become a single, unifying force with the power to shape the future of Tampa Bay.

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